In seventh grade, Miranda had eighty-three bad things happen to her.
In eighth grade, Miranda had ninety-seven bad things happen to her.
In freshman year of high school she stopped keeping track because knowing the increasing numbers just made things worse.
Every year when the homeroom teacher passed out the paper asking for information, Miranda answered truthfully. Every year, a “personal” question meant to delve into the mind and bring out a thoughtful answer loomed at the end of the page.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Miranda tapped her pencil against the paper for a long time, going through all the answers from realistic to wishful. She could be dead in five years, or poorer, or working, or any number of things.
She settled on unlucky.
Most teachers didn’t look at the answers, just turned them into the school administrators and called the chore good and done. This homeroom teacher stopped her, though, and asked, “Why did you write so little?” When the teacher looked the answer over closer, she protested, “This isn’t a real response.”
She was wrong.
When Miranda got the paper during senior year, the final paper, she had a new question: “What do you want out of this school year?” She tapped her pencil against the paper until she left strange little slanted marks on the side.
Finally, she wrote, “I want to make it out alive.”
That’s exactly what she told the sky that night when she looked out her window and saw something brilliantly bright streak toward the ground.